Kohl’s To Launch Athleisure Line As Pandemic Upends Office Life

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Kohl’s is launching a new athleisure brand called FLX as demand for casual attire surges amid the pandemic and the rise of telecommuting and remote work.

The retail giant’s new brand, pronounced “flex,” will make its debut in March at Kohl’s stores and on its website, the company said on Tuesday (Oct. 20) in a press release.

The new clothing line is part of a larger push by Kohl’s to expand its presence in the “growing active and casual categories,” the retailer said.

The move also comes as 33 percent of Americans are “always” working remotely now, a new poll by Gallup finds. While that’s down from an historic high of 51 percent in April amid the initial slate of coronavirus lockdown measures, it remains far higher than has been the norm.

Another 25 percent say they are working part of the time remotely, while two-thirds of those who have worked from home during the pandemic say they want to continue to do so in the future.

“As customers have been increasingly shopping for a more comfortable and casual lifestyle, Kohl’s identified a plan to more aggressively serve as the most trusted retailer of choice in these categories,” said Doug Howe, Kohl’s chief merchandising officer. “With an emphasis on high-quality athleisure, FLX fills a white space in our current private brand portfolio and will be a great answer to these growing consumer trends.”

Kohl’s said the new clothing line will be made for both men and women and will feature sustainable materials. The new clothing line will also be “size-inclusive,” with big and tall and plus sizes.

Items in the works include “a comfy traveler pant, multi-use loungewear or packable jacket,” Kohl’s said.

In other news, last month the department store announced that it would lay off approximately 15 percent of its corporate workforce in an effort to cut costs amid the pandemic’s impact on its business.

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